Two episodes into the latest season of HBO’s True Detective, and we are so invested already. The Jodie Foster-led new season, titled Night Country, seems like a return to form for the show after two lackluster seasons. The masterful first season, which debuted exactly a decade ago, is still hailed as the pinnacle of this genre. Although the show follows an anthology format, the new season does resemble the first season in some ways, which has only worked in its favor. We have seen only two episodes, but we already have a lot of questions. In this article, we’re going to try finding answers to those while being completely aware that we’re probably going to be proven wrong, as figuring out True Detective has never been easy. But since talking about things like these is always fun, I’m going to do it anyway.
The Story So Far
In the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska, all the scientists of the research station Tsalal randomly disappear one day, leaving their food on the table and the iconic parade scene from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” playing on loop on the TV. This calls for an investigation, and Liz Danvers, the no-nonsense police chief, jumps right into it after finding an indigenous woman’s severed tongue lying on the floor of Tsalal station. The frozen bodies of the scientists were later found, thanks to the eccentric Rose. State trooper Evangeline Navarro takes an interest in the case, as there’s enough evidence to believe it is tied up with the brutal murder of indigenous activist and midwife Annie. Navarro and Danvers used to be partners and had a major fallout during the investigation of Annie’s murder. Danvers has no intention of letting Navarro into her latest case, but when she finds a substantial clue that ties up missing scientist Raymond Clark with Annie, she has no choice but to work with Navarro again. It was eventually established that Annie and Clark had a romantic thing going on, and both of them had a spiral tattoo and a trailer full of creepy voodoo stuff with the same spiral pattern on the ceiling. Also, while all the other scientists’ bodies are found in the pile, Clark is still missing. Are there any chances he might be alive and up to something? For more detail, you can read the episode 1 and episode 2 recaps.
How Is Rose Seeing Travis?
One of the major turning points of the season was Rose finding the frozen bodies of the Tsalal scientists. But the questionable part here is her claim that Travis led her up to the bodies. We know for a fact that Travis is dead, so the obvious question that comes to mind is: how is Rose seeing Travis?
The logical answer here would be hallucinations. The Travis that Rose saw was wearing the same clothes that he was wearing when she saw him last in flesh and blood. The two of them share a bond and are romantically involved, and Travis’ disappearance and death were also mysteries. Nobody really knows what happened to him. The way Rose talks about Travis, it’s evident that she misses him. She also acknowledges his death, which implies she is not under any delusion. This season does have a supernatural vibe, but since True Detective never actively pursued that genre, we can rule out the possibility of anything beyond hallucinations.
Was Travis Related To Rust Cohle?
Coming to the question that has certainly crossed the minds of True Detective fanatics, Travis’ full name happens to be Travis Cohle. Given this is True Detective, it’s natural for us to wonder if this guy is anyhow related to detective Rust Cohle from season 1, aka arguably the most iconic character of this franchise ever, although I would say it is a really far-fetched theory. Other than the same surname and an appearance similar to older Rust, Travis probably doesn’t have any connection with Rust. We might pursue this again if we find something substantial.
Is Clark Still Alive?
Raymond Clark has appeared for only a few minutes in the season so far, but it’s undeniable that the paleomicrobiologist is already one of the MVPs of this story. Considering his body was not found with his fellow scientists, for now, we can conclude that there’s a possibility of Clark still being alive and out in the open. We still don’t have much idea as to what exactly the Tsalal scientists were researching on, but from what we’ve known so far, it had to be something revolutionary. Given Clark’s area of expertise is paleomicrobiology and he’s the one who had the seizure and mouthed that cryptic “she’s awake” phrase within the opening five minutes of the season, I am very much into indulging in the idea that Clark was looking into something on the side, all by himself. What further strengthens this theory is Liz and Danvers’ discovery of all the strange things inside Clark’s trailer, including the notorious spiral symbol.
Have We Seen The Symbol Before?
The spiral symbol is a very relevant thing in the world of True Detective, as it has appeared extensively in the first season and also in the third season. Naturally, the occurrence of the symbol automatically brings up the most obvious question in the equation: is this season, by any chance, connected to the first one? From what we’ve seen so far, it’s really hard to answer this one. While this season does seem to be the closest to the first one, at least if we consider the cosmic horror vibe, this spiral symbol could be something entirely different from the one that we saw before.
Speaking of symbols and metaphors, the polar bear seems to be one important thing in this season. We’ve seen a polar bear toy, which probably belongs to Danvers’ dead son, and a polar bear in flesh and blood, the one Navarro saw, which can either be real or a hallucination. I am pretty sure the “polar bear” is going to be an important aspect of this season.
Last but not least, there are other mysteries to be solved as well, like what’s the deal with the stags running crazily during the sunset, who was the man that was pointing a rifle at the stags, and many others. We also need to find out more about Annie and Clark’s relationship as well as Annie’s murder. In about four weeks, everything will get clear, and we will be left dumbfounded, hopefully.